The core of Changquan / Long Fist was developed in the 10th century by Zhao Kuangyin, founding Emperor of the Song Dynasty (960–1279). His style was called Tàizǔ Chángquán, which means "the Long Fist style of Emperor Taizu." In semi-legendary "classic" writings transmitted by Taijiquan's Yang family, their martial art is referred to by the name Chángquán in one of the received texts. These texts can only be reliably dated to the second half of the 19th century. The Long Fist of contemporary wǔshù draws on Chāquán, "flower fist" Huāquán, Pào Chuí, and "red fist" (Hóngquán).
Widely perceived to have a strong Shaolin influence, traditional Long Fist was promoted at the Nanjing Guoshu Institute by Han Qing-Tang (韓慶堂）, a famous Long Fist and qin na expert. After the defeat ofChiang Kai-Shek and subsequent closing of the institute, the new People's Republic of China created contemporary wushu, a popular artistic sport inspired largely by traditional Long Fist. However, this new evolution of changquan differed from the old style in that it was exhibition-focused. Higher, more elaborate jump kicks and lower stances were adopted, in order to create more aesthetically pleasing forms. Applications were then reserved for the sport of sanshou, which was kept somewhat separate from the taolu (forms).
The forms of the Long Fist style emphasize fully extended kicks and striking techniques, and by appearance would be considered a long-range fighting system. In some Long Fist styles the motto is that "the best defense is a strong offense," in which case the practitioner launches a preemptive attack so aggressive that the opponent doesn't have the opportunity to attack. Others emphasize defense over offense, noting that nearly all techniques in Long Fist forms are counters to attacks. Long Fist uses large, extended, circular movements to improve overall body mobility in the muscles, tendons, and joints. Advanced Long Fist techniques include qin na Joint-locking techniques and shuai jiao throws and takedowns.
The Long Fist style is considered to contain a good balance of hand and foot techniques, but in particular it is renowned for its impressive acrobatic kicks. In demonstration events, Long Fist techniques are most popular and memorable for their whirling, running, leaping, and acrobatics. Contemporary changquan moves are difficult to perform, requiring great flexibility and athleticism comparable to that of gymnastics.
Long Fist's arsenal of kicks covers everything from a basic front toe-kick to a jumping back-kick, from a low sweep to a tornado-kick. Specifically, typical moves in modern Changquan include: xuanfengjiao (旋风脚; "whirlwind kick"), xuanzi (旋子; "butterfly jump"), cekongfan (侧空翻; "side somersault"), and tengkongfeijiao (腾空飞脚; "flying jump kick").